If you were to look up the word Kämpfer, you’d find it’s German for fighter and without looking up any other information for the series that alone would give you a clear idea of what to expect. Except that the series is a Harem Romantic Comedy. If you’re thrown by this then you’re not alone, I thought I knew what I was going into but it quickly became clear I was in for something else entirely.
MVM Entertainment has seen fit to bring this interesting title to the UK on both Blu-ray and DVD. Here’s what they have to say about the series: “Waking up transformed into a beautiful girl might be the stuff of some guys’ fantasies, but when the suddenly effeminized Natsuru is informed by a stuffed tiger that he’s now a Kampfer, a mystical fighter who has to fight other Kampfers in female form, his life becomes a living nightmare!
Putting aside the obvious “plumbing” issues, Natusru’s best childhood friend turns out to swing the other way and SHE has a crush on his new female body. Not complex enough? Natsuru’s school has separate sections for boys and girls, so he and she are now double enrolled. The rumour-mill has it that he’s dating herself. And there are other Kampfers attending the school who want to “take her out,” and he’s not sure which ones mean “on a date” and which ones mean “permanently.” Oh, and did we mention that some Kampfers use swords and gun?! Hormones, fists, and other body parts will fly as the daring, new gender-bender defender must become a contender or die!”
The series, I think, actually started rather well; we had a lot of good action and the gender-bending was tied, somewhat, okay within the story. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long and become a full-on romantic comedy, which is fine, using the gender-bending aspect to create some interesting group dynamics. There is a scattering of action scenes throughout the series that help to break up the constant harem clichés. The main issues I had with the series though is that the excessive use of ecchi became so much I felt uncomfortable with it. I’m surprised the series only warranted a 15 certificate as I felt the series was borderline hentai. I can’t say I have ever felt that uncomfortable watching an anime before.
Excessive ecchi aside the series did have some interesting plot points, albeit not many of them. The characters were also pretty interesting but they all only had one motivation and that was getting their thrills at the expensive of our confused main character Natsuru Senou. If the series had focused a little more on the deeper story and why the Kämpfer are actually fighting then I might be able to give it more of a recommendation. As is stands though I can only recommend the series to those that like excessive amounts of ecchi and little else.
Visually the series isn’t great, most of the detail is in the female cast and their ample assets everything else takes a back seat. The soundtrack is largely forgettable as are the opening and ending themes. The series does feature a couple of good voice actress and early in the series makes a few references to their real-life counterparts by exaggerating their personalities. This mostly takes places in the first few episodes and bears no relevance within the story. The only other positives I see from this release are the inclusion of the Kämpfer Picture Drama and the two specials Kämpfer für die Liebe. Not that either of them actually bring anything more meaningful to the table but it’s nice to see extras that aren’t solely clean opening and ending animations.